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Creation as a Norm for Moral Action.

I. Pope Francis on Creation (1)

POPE FRANCIS'S ENCYCLICAL letter Laudato Si' provides his hallmark teaching on "care for our common home." The encyclical, with an eye toward encouraging dialogue, addresses all peoples. One may already note its salutary effect on international agreements about the planet's environment and other examples of renewed emphasis on the respect that humans owe to the Lord's creation.

Of the nine times that the encyclical employs the word "moral," seven of them are found in citations from the pope's immediate predecessors. In one place, however, the pope speaks in his own voice about natural moral law. "Human ecology," he says, "also implies another profound reality [besides the practical steps that must be taken to safeguard it]: the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment." (2) Of course, the whole encyclical may be seen as a moral exhortation to follow the "guidelines ... found in the treasure of Christian spiritual experience" for the care of creation. (3) To expose, however, the specific theme of creation as a norm for moral action, I will focus on recent papal teachings on natural law, "which," as Francis reminds us, "is inscribed in our nature." These teachings in fact receive a new expression and emphasis in Laudato Si'.

By way of preface to this exposition, one distinction from Francis merits special attention. The pope distinguishes between nature in the sense of an object of scientific investigation and what he refers to as creation in the Judaeo Christian tradition. (4) Some years ago, Dominican theologian Benedict Ashley underscored the usefulness of this distinction. Ashley associated the late medieval rise of extrinsic voluntarism with what he called the "objectification of the material world," that is, nature as an object of measurement. (5) For Francis, however, creation and creation's law reflect "God's art," an expression that the pope borrows from St. Thomas Aquinas. (6) This text from Aquinas's Commentary on Aristotle's Physics runs as follows: "It is clear that nature is nothing but a certain kind of art, i.e., the divine art, impressed upon things, by which these things are moved to a determinate end." (7) For Francis, creation exhibits then its own teleologies, which in the human creature establish moral norms. So he prefers that his readers contemplate nature rather than measure it. Otherwise put, Francis encourages us to regard nature more as a mirror than a puzzle. (8)

II. Pope Francis Faces Challenges

The theme of natural law has served recent popes on a number of different battle fronts. For example, during the first month of 2012, Pope Benedict XVI referred to natural law in two important speeches to those responsible for Church order. Addressing ecclesiastical lawyers, Benedict reminded them that canon law falls within the ambit of natural law. (9) To the bishops of the United States, he cited natural law as an integral part of the struggle to preserve religious freedom. "The Church's defense of a moral reasoning based on the natural law," Benedict affirmed, "is grounded on her conviction that this law is not a threat to our freedom, but rather a 'language' which enables us to understand ourselves and the truth of our being, and so to shape a more just and humane world." (10) Faith and reason. Grace and nature. Church and the political order. Natural law figures prominently in both the Church's magisterium and her efforts at evangelization. Today, in continuity with his predecessors, Pope Francis has placed natural law at the service of a Christian outlook on environmental protection. His vision extends to the macroscopic; the microscopic, he leaves to the specialists. (11)

One may observe that the emphasis placed on natural law during this and recent pontificates reveals how the Holy Spirit guides the Church. As natural law did not garner much attention from theologians after the Second Vatican Council, discontinuity within the theological community manifested itself quickly. Of course, the council fathers did not address expressly the fundamentals of moral theology, although they called for the discipline's renewal. This summons, as it happened, afforded theorists of Christian ethics and moral theology a large playing field for experiment. To consider only the English-speaking world, revisionist moral theology appeared stunningly, in the United States at least, shortly after the close of Vatican II. (12) Generally speaking, the revisionists, as the new theorists became known, veered toward relativism.

By the late 1960s, for example, the well-respected European moralist, Redemptorist Bernard Haring, reported that Catholic moral theologians had begun to "assert the normality of adolescent masturbation insofar as it is a phase through which almost all adolescents go, although a phase to be overcome by a general growth towards maturation." (13) In the second volume of his Free & Faithful in Christ, subtitled The Truth Will Set You Free, Haring drew support for this view from two North American authors, Robert P. O'Neil and Michael A. Donovan. In 1968, their book, Sexuality and Moral Responsibility, was published by Corpus Books in Washington, DC, complete with a foreword by Gregory Baum. (14) To give some indication of the status held by the long-defunct Corpus Books, the late Avery Cardinal Dulles's Revelation and the Quest for Unity and The History of Apologetics also appeared under this imprint in 1968 and 1971 respectively. Corpus Books was designed to explain to English speakers what at the time was anticipated to become the "new theology" after Vatican II. (15) Instead, a book like Sexuality and Moral Responsibility displayed the hermeneutics of discontinuity up and running within three years after the close of Vatican II. (16) What moral opinion could afford a more straightforward example of ignoring classical natural law tenets than the sanctioning of auto-eroticism, whether adolescent or not? Masturbation and environmental protection may seem, prima facie, to occupy different planets in the moral universe. However, they do not. Practiced selfishness, with its attendant disregard for the teleologies of nature, does not prepare someone to care for our common home.

Other authors who wrote on moral topics argued for proposals that contradicted natural law-based papal magisterium. In fact, not much in the twenty-five years between 1968 and 1993, when Pope John Paul II published Veritatis Splendor, advanced the cause of renewing classical natural law theory. (17) The removal in 1986 of Bernard Haring's student, the Rochester (New York) priest Charles Curran from his theology post at The Catholic University of America marks an important moment for the Church in the United States. The civil courts recognized her control over Catholic theology. This disciplinary action, however, offered no positive guidance on how to abate the broadly accepted dissent from the Church's moral teaching that by the mid-1980s had become effectively the public face of the hermeneutic of discontinuity in moral theology.

Not only did dissenting theologians abet discontinuity, they canonized it. Theretofore respected Catholic publications began to lend their pages to the popularization of moral opinions that lacked any claim of continuity with what earlier theologians classified as precepts derived from either natural law or divine positive law. In 1968, some six hundred theologians publically objected to the issuance of Pope Paul VI's encyclical letter HumanaeVitae. Much of Catholic media treated the rebellious priests as heroes. The dissent from Humanae Vitae prepared the way for the moral ambivalence that the Church faces today, almost a half century later, on a score of issues. For example, consider the positive theorization of transgenderism, which Francis has condemned as an "ideological colonization." (18) He blames books donated to schools by not disinterested benefactors for its rapid spread. In his typically direct way, Francis sees perceptively what harm the erosion of moral norms that follow and safeguard creation brings about. "We are experiencing," he exclaims, "a moment of the annihilation of man as the image of God." (19) Creation as a moral norm begins with the human person.

All in all, then, the years after the close of Vatican II did not witness in the United States or in other Anglophone countries a period when sound instruction about the place that natural law holds in the Christian moral life flourished. The most popular and polyvalent of misbegotten revisionist approaches, namely, proportionalism and consequentialism, Veritatis Splendor flatly rejected. Yet, classical elements of moral realism, such as Thomist virtue theory and its natural law undergirding, to cite one example, were set aside in favor of imaginative approaches to doing moral theology. By contrast with the bulk of these dissenting strategies, Laudato Si' mentions virtue at least four times as indispensable for Christians to "be able to make a selfless ecological commitment." (20) Francis escapes the errors of proportionalist thinking by urging what one may call a sound ecological prudence, one that respects the "treasures of wisdom" that the Christian moral tradition enshrines. (21) Scholastics would include ecological prudence under royal or political prudence, the scope of which extends beyond the individual and the family.

Despite the efforts of the papal magisterium, many Catholic authors today still either discard natural law as a putative relic of biological physicalism or conclude that the new law of grace relativizes natural-law teaching. The aforementioned Curran popularized the first view. (22) The second view flows from Karl Barth's famous adage, "It is first Gospel and then Law." (23) The first option put natural law into eclipse, whereas the second has accommodated, as we see clearly in retrospect, a pious-sounding relativism. Consider claims that have become familiar today: for example, that Christ's love for all persons obliges in justice the Christian believer to countenance and even to promote the civil recognition of same-sex unions. Or better, that the massive efforts to excuse the sterilization of the procreative act within marriages finds putative justification in the development of interpersonal intensity between spouses. Little wonder that governments today seek to coerce Catholic institutions to cover insurance costs for contraceptive instruments, including abortifacients. For her part, the Church insists that human ecology and care for creation each informs the same Christian conscience. Those who treat human nature as disposable will surely adopt the same outlook toward the natural world. Those who selfishly appropriate pleasure without embracing the good that pleasure accompanies are not likely to sacrifice material comforts for long-term ecological goals. How many couples bent on sterilizing their mating acts will think to turn off the air conditioner, as Laudato Si' recommends? (24)

III. Francis and Aquinas

Francis clearly recognizes that Aquinas can help promote care for creation. The pope may recall that some Catholic intellectuals have suggested that Aquinas would have been known as Thomas of the Creator--Thomas a Creatore, if, that is, Dominicans took these titles. (25) Fortunately for Francis and those who recognize creation as norm for moral action, the postconciliar period did not produce only dissident Catholic intellectuals. During this period of time, roughly 1970 through 1995, there were not a few Catholic moral philosophers and theologians who followed the classical structures of moral theology, mainly along Thomist lines. These thinkers were disposed kindly to welcome the emphasis that Veritatis Splendor placed on natural law and its overall approach to morals. One may describe the temper that pervades Veritatis Splendor as one of moral realism. Realist interpretations of natural law find support in the work of theologians and philosophers, even as they draw upon the findings of the human or social sciences and those of the physical sciences. In the practice of Catholic doctrina, as Francis observes, sciences both sacred and profane can cohabit complementarily the same moral and Christian universe. (26) In their basic principles, Veritatis and Laudato make up a seamless garment of papal instruction.

Catholic moral realism does not correspond to the nonnaturalist type of G. E. Moore and the British intuitionists. Likewise, Catholic moral realism does not in any way resemble the emotive theory of morals that sought to break out of the epistemological impasse created by Moore and his followers. On the contrary, Catholic moral realism flows from what John Paul has described as "the fundamental role of truth in the moral field." (27) The kind of moral realism that characterizes the Roman Catholic tradition recognizes that "moral theology requires a sound philosophical vision of human nature and society as well as of the general principles of ethical decision making." (28) This means that realist moral theology proceeds on the basis of convictions about the human being, about the world and its environment, and about transcendent being that depend on objective truth for a foundation. (29) Aquinas, for one, expresses these convictions with a consistent metaphysical rigor that distinguishes him from theologians who rely exclusively on disciplines such as history, literature, expressions of romantic idealism, or analytical philosophy as their preferred vehicles for theological discourse. (30)

An expose of what happens when one departs from natural law and Catholic moral realism appears in The Disfigured Face: Traditional Natural Law and Its Encounter with Modernity by Luis Cortest. (31) The author's narrative takes as a starting point the philosophical debate concerning the ontological status of the native peoples of the New World. The question occupied much Catholic attention during the sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries, especially on the Iberian Peninsula. The author further introduces his readers to what he calls "The Modern Way": Empiricist, Kantian, and Hegelian. Even though modern theories dominate the textbooks, Cortest points out that Pope Leo XIII, who drew upon classical Thomism to defend the Church's perennial teaching on charity that today we call her social doctrine, made his own contribution. "Not many philosophers," writes Cortest, "have defended the dignity of the human person and the family with as much passion as Leo XIII." (32) One could adapt this remark with reference to Francis and the environment.

The author of The Disfigured Face points out the continuance of moral realism in the magisterium. "Pope John Paul," concludes Cortest, "was absolutely committed to the notion that moral systems without [a] foundation in being can claim no lasting or enduring validity, since he believed that only an ontological morality could support a permanent natural law." (33) We find ourselves again reminded of the high risks that an abandonment of moral realism and natural law entails for the human race. To return to Francis, we could say that, when moral action suffers separation from creation understood as "God's art," theorists turn either to rationalist ideologies or the tyranny of emotions. Each option creates its own kind of discontinuity with the treasures of Christian wisdom. Fortunately, a new generation of theologians supports Francis's efforts to sustain the papal tradition of natural-law thinking. In fact, at a 2017 conference in Poland, Dominican Fr. Cajetan Cuddy addressed the theme of natural law and the hermeneutic of continuity. (34)

Theorizing about natural law outside a philosophical framework that finds its grounding in realist metaphysics creates a high-stakes game, as Benedict asserted in his ad limina address to the American bishops. "At the heart of every culture," he said, "whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing." (35) Benedict is right. As I discuss in my book The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics, the ultimate check on bad moral reasoning is reality. (36) Today, transgenderism offers an almost self-evident proof of this Thomist principle. The mainstream media lump progressive causes together. However, can one assert upon reasoned reflection that the principles that support transgenderism will also mount a strong defense of environmentalism? Probably not. If a secular ideology can allow a double mastectomy on a fifteen-year-old girl, what can stop another secular ideology from authorizing the bulldozing of an Amazonian virgin forest? (37)

In Veritatis Splendor, John Paul points out the Thomist character of the Catholic tradition on natural law: "The Church has often made reference to the Thomistic doctrine of natural law, including it in her own teaching on morality." (38) For some recognized Catholic thinkers, however, Thomistic natural law does not figure as a central element in their presentations of Catholic moral thought. Hans Urs von Balthasar belongs in this category, one avers. (39) Balthasar in fact sounded some "cautionary notes" about classical natural law theory. (40) To the extent that Balthasar refers substantially to anything natural, he places these considerations under the heading of "Fragments of Extrabiblical Ethics." (41) Given his explicit views on natural law, Balthasar, who died in 1988, may have been surprised by Veritatis Splendor and the place that the encyclical gives to natural law in God's plan of salvation. (42) The encyclical explains that "the different ways in which God, acting in history, cares for the world and for mankind are not mutually exclusive; on the contrary, they support each other and intersect." (43) One of these intersecting ways appears in natural law.

Balthasar breaks with the Catholic tradition on natural law. In his essay on "Prebiblical Natural Order," Balthasar claims "that nature remains necessarily closed off before the moment when God breaks through the enclosure by divine revelation." (44) Is this claim true? Does the magisterium teach that nature is closed off? What about the natural or the human or the acquired virtue of religion? What about the natural contemplation of God? What about Francis, who sees natural law precisely as a prerequisite for sustaining a proper outlook on environmental issues? "In this universe," says the pope, "shaped by open and intercommunicating systems, we can discern countless forms of relationship and participation. This leads us to think of the whole as open to God's transcendence, within which it develops." (45) Aristotle could not have said it better.

Balthasar holds a different view. "Prebiblical ethics," he wrote, "which finds its norms in nature, can ask about the good that is proper to human nature (bonum honestum) by setting up an analogy with the good that is proper to infrahuman existing things. This human good, however, will be contained within the limits of the surroundings natural order." On the other hand, Francis takes inspiration from Aquinas. The teleological ordering of human actions, so Aquinas holds, achieves its own form of transcendence without the unique intervention of divine grace. When grace arrives, and it must come as a free and unmerited gift, this new relationship with God includes the revelation that the God who is the principle of human wisdom also sends his Son and their Spirit into the world. At the same time, Christian believers cannot forget what natural contemplation can achieve. The aforementioned Ashley has observed this about natural contemplation: "By attaining to a certain wisdom in the contemplation of the universe as the mirror of God, we each stand in a unique I-Thou relation to God." (46) Balthasar was not exposed to the rich resources of the River Forest School, which sounds no cautionary notes about natural law and its place in Christian faith and apologetics. The River Forest School distinguishes itself from other approaches to the texts of Aquinas both by this school's insistence on the order of the sciences and its claim that the pursuit of metaphysics can only follow safely once the existence of immaterial being has been demonstrated in natural philosophy. Laudato Si' should find support from members of this school, which some call Laval Thomism. (47)

Aristotle, rightly interpreted, broke out of the bounds of a closed universe. Aquinas, it is held, understood the importance of this philosophical move for mounting successfully the Catholic theological project. Natural religion opens up natural law to a philosophical transcendence that finds its completion and perfection in the revelation that Christ makes about the Trinity. Thomist natural law theory does not leave the Christian believer with a heartless code of moral conduct dictated by an impersonal God of ethical probity. Aquinas understood very well that the final imprint of divine grace on the moral life leads to the Blessed Trinity. (48) Francis has now invited us to a contemplation of creation that will enrich the teachings of his immediate predecessors. He offers us a way of entering deeply into the mystery that God has inscribed in the order of nature and elevated in the order of grace. As both Francis and Aquinas teach, the imprint of the Eternal Logos and the imitation of the Incarnate Son remain one and the same. (49) Or as Francis says, "From the beginning of the world, but particularly through the incarnation, the mystery of Christ is at work in a hidden manner in the natural world as a whole." (50)


(1.) This paper was delivered at the seventeenth plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas in Vatican City on June 17, 2017.

(2.) Pope Francis, Laudato Si' (2015), 155.

(3.) Ibid., 15.

(4.) Ibid., 76: "In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the word 'creation' has a broader meaning than 'nature,' for it has to do with God's loving plan in which every creature has its own value and significance. Nature is usually seen as a system which can be studied, understood and controlled, whereas creation can only be understood as a gift from the outstretched hand of the Father of all, and as a reality illuminated by the love which calls us together into universal communion."

(5.) Benedict Ashley, OP, Theologies of the Body: Humanist and Christian (Braintree, MA: The Pope John XXIII Medical-Moral Research and Education Center, 1995), 164.

(6.) Laudato Si', 80, citing Aquinas, In octo libros Physicorum Aristotelis expositio, 2.14.

(7.) St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle's Physics, trans. R. J. Blackwell, et al. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963), 124.

(8.) See Laudato Si', 239, which cites St. Bonaventure's views about the Trinitarian image in creation.

(9.) Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI for the Inauguration of the Judicial Year of the Tribunal of Roman Rota, Clementine Hall, January 21, 2012.

(10.) Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Bishops of the United States of America on their "Ad Limina" Visit, Consistory Hall. January 19, 2012.

(11.) For example, see Laudato Si', 34: "We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems."

(12.) Some of what follows appears in my "Realismo Morale E Legge Naturale," in Come insegnare Teologia Morale? Prospettive di rinnovamento nelle recenti proposte di esposizione sistematica, ed. Livio Melina & Stephan Kampowski, Studie sulla persona e la famiglia, Atti 3 (Siena: Edizioni Cantagalli, 2009), 91-105.

(13.) See Bernhard Haring, Free & Faithful in Christ, vol. 2, The Truth Will Set You Free (New York: The Seabury Press, 1979), 561.

(14.) Robert P. O'Neil and Michael A. Donovan, Sexuality and Moral Responsibility (Washington, DC: Corpus Books, 1968).

(15.) For further discussion, see my "San Tommaso e l'inculturazione della legge naturale" [St. Thomas and the enculturation of the national law: Doing moral theology on earth] Doctor Communis (Vatican City: Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas, 2007): 41-53.

(16.) In an effort to steady the direction of Catholic theology, Pope Benedict XVI, in his address to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005, described the proper hermeneutic for interpreting the documents and teaching of the Second Vatican Council. The pope, in sum, warned against the hermeneutic of discontinuity and encouraged rather what he called the hermeneutic of reform. For further discussion, see Pope Benedict XVI, "Ad Romanam Curiam ob omnia natalicia," Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. 98 (January 6, 2006): 40-53. For the pertinent sections, see Vatican II: Renewal Within Tradition, ed. Matthew L. Lamb and Matthew Levering (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), ix-xv, at xiii.

(17.) For information on this first papal encyclical to treat the fundamental questions of moral theology, see Veritatis Splendor and the Renewal of Moral Theology: Studies by Ten Outstanding Scholars, ed. J. A. DiNoia, OP, and Romanus Cessario, OP (Chicago: Midwest Theological Forum, 1999).

(18.) "Dialogo del Santo Padre con i Vescovi della Polonia" (Krakow, 27 luglio 2016), [Bollettino 02.08.2016]

I would like to conclude with this aspect, since behind all this there are ideologies. In Europe, America, Latin America, Africa, and in some countries of Asia, there are genuine forms of ideological colonization taking place. And one of these--I will call it clearly by its name--is [the ideology of] "gender." Today children--children!--are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. Why are they teaching this? Because the books are provided by the persons and institutions that give you money. These forms of ideological colonization are also supported by influential countries. And this is terrible!

See also Laudato Si', 155.

(19.) Ibid.

(20.) Laudato Si', 211.

(21.) Ibid., 200: "If a mistaken understanding of our own principles has at times led us to justify mistreating nature, to exercise tyranny over creation, to engage in war, injustice and acts of violence, we believers should acknowledge that by so doing we were not faithful to the treasures of wisdom which we have been called to protect and preserve."

(22.) See Charles E. Curran, Directions in Fundamental Moral Theology (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985), chap. 5, "Natural Law," 119-72.

(23.) Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, (London: T&T Clark International, 2004) vol. 2, pt. 2, 511.

(24.) See Laudato Si', 55.

(25.) The suggestive thought comes from Chesterton. See Josef Pieper, The Silence of St. Thomas, trans. J. Murray and D. O'Connor (Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1957), 32.

(26.) See Laudato Si', 7.

(27.) Fides et Ratio, 98.

(28.) Ibid., 68.

(29.) For further discussion, see my Introduction to Moral Theology (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2001), esp. xi-xxiii.

(30.) For more on the latter option, see Steven A. Long, "St. Thomas Aquinas through the Analytic Looking Glass," The Thomist 65 (2001): 259-300.

(31.) Luis Cortest, The Disfigured Face: Traditional Natural Law and Its Encounter with Modernity, Moral Philosophy & Moral Theology Series (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008).

(32.) Ibid., 76.

(33.) Ibid, 93.

(34.) Cajetan Cuddy, OP, "Thomas Aquinas on the Bible and Morality: The Sacred Scriptures, the Natural Law, and the Hermeneutic of Continuity" (paper presented at the colloquium: "Towards a Biblical Thomism: Aquinas and the Renewal of Biblical Theology," Torun, Poland, April 24-26, 2017).

(35.) Pope Benedict XVI to the bishops of the United States, January 2012.

(36.) Romanus Cessario, The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics, 2nd ed. (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008), 177. "Practical wisdom itself discovers its rule and measure in conformity with reality. Of course, by this we understand reality in all of its dimensions. All in all, only a realist moral theology can express such confidence about the relationship of morality to the created order. In effect, abusive use of human capacities bumps up against reality, even if reality does not always respond immediately."

(37.) See Laudato Si', 24. Pope Benedict enunciated this point in his 2011 Bundestag Address:

The importance of ecology is no longer disputed. We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly. Yet I would like to underline a point that seems to me to be neglected, today as in the past: there is also an ecology of man. Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man is not merely self-creating freedom. Man does not create himself. He is intellect and will, but he is also nature, and his will is rightly ordered if he respects his nature, listens to it and accepts himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself. In this way, and in no other, is true human freedom fulfilled.

(38.) Veritatis Splendor, 44ff.

(39.) See Hans Urs von Balthasar, "Nine Theses in Christian Ethics" in International Theological Commission: Texts and Documents 1969-1985, ed. Michael Sharkey (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), 105-28, especially Thesis 8, "Prebiblical Natural Order," 119-20.

(40.) See the translation in the above cited edition of texts and documents from the International Theological Commission, which is later than the version that appears in Principles of Christian Morality, originally published by Johannes Verlag in German in 1975.

(41.) "Nine Theses," 116.

(42.) See Veritatis Splendor, 44 and 45.

(43.) Ibid, 45.

(44.) "Nine Theses," 119.

(45.) Laudato Si', 79.

(46.) Benedict M. Ashley, OP, The Way toward Wisdom. An Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Introduction to Metaphysics (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006) 429.

(47.) For more information, see Benedict Ashley, OP, "The River Forest School and the Philosophy of Nature Today," in Philosophy and the God of Abraham, ed. R. James Long (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1991), 1-16. Today students from Thomas Aquinas College in California carry on the work of the River Forest School.

(48.) For more on this subject, see my "The Trinitarian Imprint on the Moral Life," The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity, ed. Gilles Emery, OP, and Matthew Levering, Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology series (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

(49.) See Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae Ia, q. 43, a. 1: "Thus the mission of a divine person is a fitting thing, as meaning in one way the procession of origin from the sender, and as meaning a new way of existing in another; thus the Son is said to be sent by the Father into the world (Jn 10:36), inasmuch as He began to exist visibly in the world by taking our nature; whereas 'He was' previously 'in the world' (Jn 1:10)." For further discussion, see my Introduction to Moral Theology (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2001), chap. 2.

(50.) Laudato Si', 99.
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Author:Cessario, Romanus
Publication:Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture
Article Type:Critical essay
Date:Mar 22, 2018
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